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Colin’s “Best of 2018”: Books / Apps / Tools & Tricks

Colin’s “Best of 2018”: Books / Apps / Tools & Tricks

As we enter the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the books, apps, and other tools and tricks that I have found most useful over the last 12 months in keeping myself fit, focused, and efficient.


I hope you get as much out of these as I have!!




Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy


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One of my big paradigm shifts this year was the “chicken vs. egg” dilemma of health and happiness. For most of my fitness career, I have seen health and fitness as a pathway to happiness, but now I believe the opposite to be true.


Happiness leads to health and fitness...and this book does a great job of giving you a step-by-step guide to boosting happiness.


How Will You Measure Your Life?


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I love any book that takes all areas of life - career, marriage, health, parenting, retirement - and finds common threads that tie them all together.


In this book, Clayton Christensen, a New York Times best-selling author and MBA professor at Harvard, uses many of the lessons he has learned throughout his life to show how specific principles can help you gain more out of every area of your life.






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The average person spends 3 hours per day on their phone. If you would like to change this, Moment is for you!


This app will force you to come face-to-face with just how much time you are on your phone, what apps take up the most time, and how many times you pick up your phone (congrats if it is less than 75 times per day!).

Use this to help you spend less time staring at your phone and more time living life!




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Want to up your level of commitment to habit change? Put your money where your mouth is! In this app, you can compete against friends or just join a featured challenge where you work to complete a task daily for 1-8 weeks.


Every day you miss, you are charged a set amount (usually $5-$20) which goes into a pot to be split by the rest of the people who successfully completed the challenge.  


This is a great way to boost your motivation and get the ball rolling toward a habit change.


Tools & Tricks:

Levoit Air Purifier


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If you battle with allergies, an air purifier can be a game changer for you. There are a lot of good options out there, this just happens to be the one that we have.


What I like about it:


  1. It removes 99.7% of dust, pollen, smoke, and mold.

  2. It’s quiet.

  3. It’s great for our bedroom (if you want one for the whole house, you will need a bigger one).


What I don’t like:


  1. If you want it on at night, you will need to cover the’s too bright for my liking!


This has been great for me and for our kids, and keeps our air fresh all day long!


Do a Sunday Cook Up


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It is no secret that eating home-cooked meals is better for you, but the number one challenge that people run into when it comes to cooking is time.


Well, save yourself from the daily challenge of cooking and just do one BIG cook up on Sunday. Here is what I do every Sunday so that I don’t have to worry about cooking during the week:


Step 1: Shopping (60 minutes)

I have my list ready to go, go to the store when it first opens, get what I need and head home!

Step 2: Cook the meat (15 minutes)

The first step is to cook up my main meat dish for the week. This might be ground grass-fed beef, ground turkey, or ground lamb.

Step 3: Cook veggie mix #1 (15 minutes)

While the meat is cooking, I chop up all the veggies for my first veggie mix. A common mix is sweet potato, onion, mushroom, and chard, but you can do whatever you like!

Once the meat is done, I put it in a glass container to cool and I throw all the veggies in with some coconut oil.

Step 4: Cook veggie mix #2 (15 minutes)

While the first veggie mix is cooking, I am on to the next round. Our other dish typically has cauliflower, onion, bell pepper, and squash, but again, we often switch in things like cabbage, bok choy, zucchini, etc.

Once veggie mix #1 is done, that goes into a container and the new mix goes in the pot.

Step 5: Cook the fish (15 minutes)

I buy bulk frozen fish from Costco or Sprouts and thaw it either the night before or the morning of the cook up. Once it is thawed, I heat the oven to 400 degrees, put the fish in a pan, season it and throw it in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

This can be done at any point during the cook up, but I usually do it while veggie mix #2 is cooking.

Step 6: Relax

After 2-3 hours of shopping and cooking, I get to relax knowing that all of my food is ready for the week.


A few things to know:


  1. We eat eggs most days so that makes for very simple prep on the day we eat them.

  2. We use pre-cooked chicken strips from Costco regularly to save on cooking time.

  3. I do not always shop the same day. Usually I will shop 1-2 days before and then can jump right into cooking on Sunday.


So there you have it...some of the best ideas and tools that I came across in 2018! If you have any top recommendations, I would love to hear about them!


Please post your “Best of” list on our Facebook Page -- I look forward to checking them out!

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